By Chibuike Oguh
(Reuters) - U.S. private equity firm Blackstone Group Inc said on Wednesday it has raised the largest ever real estate fund, amassing $20.5 billion to be invested in property assets around the world.
Large buyout firms such as Blackstone have been attracting a lot of capital from investors seeking higher returns not available in public markets.
The capital ready to be deployed has swollen to over $2 trillion, according to data provider Prequin, driving up asset prices and deal making activity.
Blackstone said in a statement the fund, named Blackstone Real Estate Partners IX (BREP IX), has already made its first investment: the purchase of U.S. industrial warehouse properties from Singapore-based logistics provider GLP for $18.7 billion.
The deal, in which BREP IX co-invested with other Blackstone funds, was announced in June and is expected to close in coming weeks, the company said.
Blackstone is the world's largest alternative asset manager and one of the biggest property investors, with $154 billion in real estate assets under management.
(Reporting by Chibuike Oguh; Editing by Sandra Maler)